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February 28

Online customer service is quickly becoming a matter of life and death in the business world. Companies who fail to adapt to new online customer service standards find their customers flocking to competitors who offer a higher level of service. If you find yourself needing to update your customer service practices to keep up, here are a few ways you can make a difference now.

  • Knowing Your Customer Base - The first step in improving your customer service is knowing who your customers are. Do you serve primarily baby boomers and older generations who have been slow to take up technology, or do you serve Millenials who let technology drive their every move? If you serve both, do you have the means to effectively deliver quality service to both groups based on their unique needs? Taking the time to research your customer base and know what they expect of you will go a long way toward investing your money in the right technologies.
  • Make Information Available - Online customer service and communication does not necessarily mean that you need to have an agent standing by at all times. Many companies find that their customers experience a heightened level of service simply by making information about their accounts and products readily available to them. This is often done by investing in a quality website that includes a well-designed customer portal and even an automated chat agent who can help troubleshoot simple problems without the need of human input. The return on investment is virtually limitless with this technology.
  • Add Features that Matter - Once you know who your customers are and you make it possible for them to manage their information on their own, all you have left to worry about it communicating with the smaller percentage who actually need to speak with an agent directly. Now is the time to determine which features matter most to these individuals. This includes live chat support for issues that can't be resolved by an automated system, email support for those who aren't in a rush, and better call features. If your customers are expecting to wait on hold when they call you, they are probably dreading the call before it ever happens. Setting up a system that places them in a virtual queue and calls them back later will free up their time and be less disruptive to their life. Of course, the features that you add need to correspond with the customer base who will be most likely to use them.

The more information you gather about your customers ahead of time, the better able you are to invest that money wisely. Your online customer service will improve drastically if you can show your customers that you are willing to meet them on their terms and make their lives easier. You can simultaneously simplify your service by making some of those features automated so that your team can focus on the ones that really require one-on-one help.